Shakespeare's Hamlet Contains Messages That Are Relevant Term Paper

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Shakespeare's Hamlet contains messages that are relevant to modern society, including the problem of revenge and the disturbing nature of death and the afterlife. These themes repeat themselves throughout Hamlet and are dealt with by the play's protagonist, Prince Hamlet of Denmark. Issues of revenge and death shape Hamlet's character and color his perception of life and the people around him. His encounter with the specter of his late father early in the play brings Hamlet into intimate contact with death and the afterlife. Physical reminders of death also drive home this theme of the play, such as the decaying bodies in the cemetery and Yorick's skull. Closely related to the theme of death is that of revenge, for death is the ultimate outcome of vengeful retribution and the primary motivation for the play's protagonist. King Hamlet's ghost demands that his son exact revenge on Claudius: "If thou didst ever thy dear
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father love.../Revenge his foul and most unnatural murder," (I, v). Hamlet must obey his dead father's wishes, even as he knows that he hearkens to the words of a mere ghost. Moreover, it is not legal justice that Hamlet seeks. Rather, the prince needs to kill Claudius almost for spiritual reasons. Shakespeare's play Hamlet is complex, but the tragedy focuses on universal themes like death and revenge.

Hamlet is a good man, but after he finds out that his uncle murdered his father, he needs to take action. He cannot bring himself to murder Claudius while he prays, for that would entail an incomplete revenge. It would be too compassionate on his uncle's soul. The ghost warns Hamlet that he will be burdened with guilt and shame if he does not kill Claudius. But Hamlet agonizes over taking action and indeed does feel disgusted with himself. "O, vengeance! Why, what an ass am I!" (II, 2). Hamlet struggles with his own inaction, but he still attempts to invoke hatred and anger:…

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